Tag Archives: Per Mertesacker

Who’s who in Arsenal’s back room shake up

The appointment of Raul Sanllehi as Head of Football relations is the 8th new appointment in the back room staff at Arsenal since February 2016.

Ben Wrigglesworth – First Team Video Scout

Much-admired scout Ben Wrigglesworth begun work at Arsenal in February 2016, after departing Leicester City.

Wrigglesworth, who worked as head of technical scouting at the King Power Stadium, moved to London where he serves as a first-team video scout.

Luke Hobbs – Interim Academy Manager

Following Andries Jonker’s appointment as Head Coach at VFL Wolfsburg, arsenal promoted Luke Hobbs from within to Interim Academy Manager

Luke had been in charge of Football Operations at our Hale End Academy and had been with the club since July 2013.

Jens Lehmann – First Team Coach

Former invincible, Lehmann, rejoined Arsenal as a first team coach in July 2017.

Huss Fahmy – Contracts, Legal & Commercial Expert

Legal eagle Huss Fahmy had been a key part of Team Sky’s operation since around its inception in 2010 after moving to Sky the previous year from the City where he worked for the multi-national law firm Herbert Smith.

He joined Arsenal in June 2017, strengthening our legal team.

Darren Burgess – Director of High Performance

A month after Fahmy joined, Liverpool’s former Head of Fitness and Conditioning joined the backroom staff.

Burgess joined the club from American Rules Football side Port Adelaide, to take up the new role of  Director of High Performance.

Sven Mislintat – Head of Recruitment

Arsenal have confirmed the appointment of Sven Mislintat as their new head of recruitment, effective from December.

The Gunners are set to bid farewell to current head scout Steve Rowley at the end of the month and have acted quickly to bring in Mislintat, who joined from German giants Borussia Dortmund.

Rueda de prensa del presidente del FC Barcelona, Jose Maria Bartomeu

Raul Sanllehi – Head of Football Relations

Former Barcelona Director of Football Raul Sanllehi is set to join Arsenal at the end of February 2018. He will take the newly created role of Head of Football Relations.

Per Mertesacker – Academy Manager

From the beginning of the 2018/19 season, Per Mertesacker will take over as Academy Manager.


Arsenal’s Trolley Dash Transfers

August 2011. Arsenal had just lost 8-2 to Manchester United. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain making his debut. It was a disastrous day. One of the most embarrassing defeats in recent memory – and there has been a few.

The defeat led Arsenal to carry out a supermarket sweep on the final days of the transfer window.

Having only signed youngsters Carl Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell (who would not get a work permit), alongside the African-Messi Gervinho, Arsenal were horribly short of players. What resulted from that day was a deadline day dash to boost the squad. 5 players in, 1 of which on loan.

But what happened to those 5 players?

Park Chu-Young – Monaco – £1.8m

The signing of South Korean Park Chu-Young will always be a mystery. He was on his way to a medical to sign for Lille when Arsene Wenger got a sniff that he is available. Rather than get on a train to his medical, he got the Eurostar to London. Lille declared him missing, Arsenal were hiding him in a hotel.

He made his league debut for Arsenal as a substitute, 82 minutes into a 2–1 home defeat by Manchester United, on 22 January 2012, 6 months after he signed. And he was never seen in a Premier League game again,.

Talk about him having to leave after 3 years to do national service was as exciting as it got.

He was then loaned to Celta Vigo and Watford, before making a permanent move to Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia. After a year there, he returned to his native South Korea. Not to do military service, but to play for FC Seoul.

A regular for his country before he joined Arsenal, the transfer not only killed his international career, but his footballing career.

Andre Santos – Fenerbache – £6.2m

With Gaël Clichy, Arsenal expected 21 year old Keiran Gibbs to step up as the next great Arsenal left back, with Armand Traore providing cover. Gibbs started the 2011/12 season injured, meaning that Traore and Carl Jenkinson played left back. After the 8-2 defeat, in which Traore started and Jenkinson got sent off, Arsenal targeted a senior left back.

In came Brazilian international Andre Santos. A man known for his attacking exploits.

He ended up performing better in the Arsenal Fish Bar than on the pitch for Arsenal. Always carrying a bit too much timber, he was awful.

He was dumped back to Brazil, then went to India, Switzerland and Turkey. He is currently captain of Boluspor.

Per Mertesacker – Werder Breman – £8m

The Big F’ing German bought leadership and stability to the club after the 8-2 defeat. He soon found himself as first choice centre back at the club, playing alongside either Thomas Vermaelen or Laurent Koscielny – depending on who was fit.

He went on to become an important part of Arsenal defence, leading the side to 3 FA Cup victories, winning the World Cup with Germany, and winning his 100th international cap.

Still at the club, he is set to retire at the end of this season and take up an academy coaching role.

Mikel Arteta – Everton – £10m

There have been very few deadline day dramas like Mikel Arteta’s transfer to Arsenal.

Throughout deadline day, the transfer was on, then off, then on, then done, then off, and then suddenly, just before the window closed, it was confirmed, Mikel Arteta was an Arsenal player.

Most agreed that we had signed him 3 years earlier – the year we tried and failed to sign Xabi Alonso.

Rather than joining to partner Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the midfield, he was their replacement.

His first 3 years at Arsenal were excellent. But then he lost his legs.

The final two years at Arsenal were ruined through injury – has anyone every recovered from losing their legs?

I will always remember when he captained the club for most of 2014, including the FA Cup Final, only for Thomas Vermaelen to do a John Terry and lift the FA Cup despite not playing. Luckily he got to lift it as captain the year after.

He scored on his last game (cruelly changed to an own goal by the FA) and retired. Instead of joining Arsenal’s coaching staff, he took himself to Manchester City, where he is still part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching set up.


Arsenal set for defensive crisis against Stoke?

Against Leicester City, Arsenal showed a weakness against the high ball into the box. A weakness which Leicester City exploited ruthlessly with all 3 of their goals coming from crosses into the box.

In Arsenal’s defence, they were playing two left backs and a 21 year old Rob holding at centre back. But it is not really a defence, in both ways.

Leicester continually played balls down the channel between Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin, which dragged the only centre back out of position. This left space in the middle for Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki to attack.

Arsenal were also poor at corners. They lacked leaders at the back, someone to take control of the situation and get his head on it. So often this man is Olivier Giroud, but with him playing second fiddle to Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal looked short at the back. Literally.

Up next is Stoke City. And there are reasons to worry.

Stoke City have one of the narrowest pitches in the league and have destroyed Arsenal before using the simple game plan of swing as many balls into the box as possible. If over the next few days Arsenal do not develop a game plan to deal with the high ball, the side will once more struggle.

Laurent Koscielny is still out suspended. Stoke City will be the third game after the silly sending off on the last day of last season which caused him to miss the cup final.

Also missing from the game against Leicester was club captain Per Mertesacker.

Having been involved in a gruesome clash with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill at the Community Shield, his wound had not sufficiently repaired itself in time for the victory over Leicester.

The Arsenal website does not have him listed as injured, but they do list Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey as out. My bet is the lad who updates the website is currently face down in a gutter in Magaluf.

Mertesacker’s height in the middle of the park would be key against a side like Stoke City. And his organisation and leadership would see both Holding and Monreal perform better.

Shkodran Mustafi was fit enough to be on the bench against Leicester. Another weeks training under his belt and he should be fit to start against Stoke City. Gabriel is 100% out – injured and set to be sold.

Taking into account the threat faced by Stoke City, if Mustafi and Mertesacker as fully fit, it would be worthwhile playing both alongside Rob Holding. It would even be worth starting Olivier Giroud upfront.

If Arsenal do start with the same defence as they used against Leicester, Arsenal’s travelling fans could be in for another tough day in the grim city.